The most common advice given by photographers (and creatives in general) is probably: “Get out of your comfort zone”. I’ve seen it countless times on blogs, books, interviews and articles. It’s difficult to disagree with this statement, whose implications are largely obvious. Nevertheless it may raise some issues.
This is how many of us would depict it:
Getting out of our circle of safety forces us to access unexplored areas and experiment with techniques, styles, tasks, interactions. To do so, we usually identify a specific goal and/or give ourselves a self-assignement. In my case for example, I identified the lack of the human figure in my photos as a limit and decided to experiment with street photography. I went out more, walked around the city, dared to shoot when I usually wouldn’t. It worked, for a bit. Then it didn’t work anymore: I felt less and less motivated and at some point I discovered I was photographing monuments more than people (in my defense, it’s easy to be distracted when you live in Rome).
The fact is, sometimes we think we are working as in picture 1, while this is how things are actually going:
This was supposed to be the first post in a series, covering in english the first year of monthly assignements for BombaCarta. Unfortunately, I was devoured by a number of issues and time constraints, so I couldn’t keep up. If you can speak italian, many reports about the year 2016-17 (including assignements and workshops) are on BombaCarta‘s website. This assignment was given on November 2016 and terminated on December 2016.
Choose your medium
Choose your medium carefully: you will stick to it for the whole year. For writing and photography a clear path will be provided but you are encouraged to experiment with any other form of art as long as you accept the duty to “translate” the assignment accordingly. Some forms of art work better in a group: if you have one, you could consider cinematography or dance for example. This is less obvious and more challenging as it may seem: if you do it, I’d love to know how it goes.
In a video on his YouTube channel, Ted Forbes launched the first of a series of assignments. As an avid follower of his videos, I decided to join. The topic is “Variations”, the assignment is to take ten shots at the same scene. This is how it went (original pictures available here).